Italy's Piedmont region is taking preventative measures following the announcement Friday that African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed in a dead wild boar in Ovada. The regional government has asked the mayors of the municipalities concerned to ban hunting in their territories. In addition, the government reiterated the need to strengthen the surveillance of wild boars and breeding pigs and to raise to the maximum alert level for vigilance on biosecurity measures in the domestic sector, with particular regard to transportation and movement of animals, feed, products and people.
"As in the case of the pandemic, the emergency of African swine fever must also be addressed by appealing to everyone's collaboration," says Luigi Icardi, Piedmont's health deputy. "Sanità del Piemonte is alongside operators in the sector to prevent the circulation of the virus and protect pig farms."
In defining the boundaries of the infected area, the distribution range of the wild boar and the presence of natural or artificial barriers that can reduce the contact between infected and uninjured wild boar population will be taken into consideration. Continuous discussions are underway with the Ministry, which will issue the official data concerning the areas involved and defining the actions to be undertaken involving the municipalities, the provinces and also the territorial hunting areas and hunting companies.
The President of the Region Alberto Cirio and the Councilor for Agriculture Marco Protopapa also released a statement on the situation: "As requested on several occasions by the competent Ministries of Piedmont, together with all the other regions, it is necessary that the institutions in charge definitively take over Law 157/92 to adapt it to current needs with a radical reform of the law on wildlife. With the current rules and the lack of personnel for the control, it is no longer able to counteract the phenomenon of the proliferation of wild boars."
In December the Regional Council adopted for the first time a resolution extending the possibility for the 2021-2022 hunting season to apply numerical-selective sampling plans of the wild boar species for the period between Jan. 1-31.
Cirio and Protopapa added "the intensification of cases of African swine fever throughout Europe must increase the attention of institutions at all levels, including the EU, to protect livestock production and the economy of our companies ..."